Java License Agreement Changes

Java License Agreement Changes: What You Need to Know

As a software developer, you may be familiar with the Java programming language and the various tools it offers for creating applications. However, recent changes to the Java license agreement have caused some concern among developers, particularly those who use the Java Development Kit (JDK) in their work.

So, what are these changes and how do they affect you? Here is a breakdown of everything you need to know.


For many years, the Java platform and the JDK have been released under the GNU General Public License (GPL), which is a free and open-source license. This meant that anyone could use, modify, and distribute the software without any restrictions.

However, in 2019, Oracle, the company behind Java, introduced a new licensing model for the JDK. Under this model, the use of the JDK is now subject to a fee for certain commercial purposes. This has caused some confusion and anxiety among developers who rely on Java in their work.

Changes to the Java License Agreement

The new Java licensing model applies to versions of the JDK released after January 2019. Under this model, users who are not using the JDK for personal or development use are required to purchase a commercial license from Oracle.

This means that if you are using the JDK for production purposes, such as developing and deploying applications for your business or for your clients, you need to purchase a commercial license. The cost of the license depends on various factors, including the number of processors on which the software is running and the level of support required.

In addition to the commercial license, Oracle also offers a free license for developers. This license allows developers to use the JDK for development and testing purposes without incurring any fees. However, this license does not cover production use, which means that if you are using the JDK in a commercial environment, you still need to purchase a commercial license.

Implications for Developers

The new licensing model has several implications for developers who use the JDK in their work. Here are some of the key considerations:

1. Cost: If you are using the JDK for production purposes, you will need to factor in the cost of the commercial license. This may impact your budget and cash flow, particularly if you are a small business.

2. Compliance: If you are using the JDK without a commercial license, you may be in breach of the licensing terms. This could result in legal action and financial penalties.

3. Migration: If you are currently using an older version of the JDK that was released under the GPL license, you may need to migrate to the new licensing model. This could involve additional costs and effort.

4. Open-source alternatives: If you are looking to avoid the cost of the commercial license, you may want to consider open-source alternatives to the JDK, such as OpenJDK. These alternatives are released under free and open-source licenses and provide similar functionality to the JDK.


The changes to the Java licensing model have caused some concern among developers who use the JDK in their work. However, by understanding the implications of the new licensing model and exploring alternative options, developers can ensure that they remain compliant and minimize any financial impact.